Jaime Hartless Presents Research at Symposium

Study test the importance of religion in American society in the face of increasing secularization.  


Jaime Hartless ’09 presented a poster, “American Religiosity and the Inadequacy of the Secularization Thesis” at Randolph College’s Symposium for Artists & Scholars on April 17, 2009.

Hartless conducted the research project under the guidance of faculty mentor, Dan Farr, adjunct assistant professor of sociology, while an undergraduate student at Randolph College.

An abstract of Hartless’ project follows...

According to the secularization thesis, the advent of the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation resulted in a drive towards modernization that culminated in the differentiation of religion from other societal institutions and its privatization in a separate sphere. The alleged result of this transformation is the devaluation of religion. This theory has been challenged in recent years by numerous researchers who claim that the high religious indicators in America damage the secularization thesis. The purpose of this study is to test the importance of religion in American society as well as ascertain why Americans value religion in the face of secularizing trends. Religion in America is hypothesized to fulfill three main functions: guidance in making choices about political and social matters, establishment of cohesion in an increasingly heterogeneous society, and provision of answers to difficult questions that secular society fails to answer for many Americans.

The Student Symposium of Artists and Scholars provides Randolph College students from all classes and disciplines the opportunity to present the results of their research, scholarship, and creative work to the entire College community and beyond.

The two-day symposium, modeled after a typical academic conference, features oral presentations of student research, readings of creative work, musical performances, and exhibitions of student artwork. The symposium also includes a poster session, reception and a keynote address from a noteworthy academic speaker.

Learn more at www.randolphcollege.edu/sas